Finding payware aircraft in FSX is pretty simple. Trying to find outstanding payware aircraft for FSX can be a bit daunting. Vertical Reality Simulations (VRS) has hit the outstanding aircraft target with their release of the VRS F/A-18E Superbug. The aircraft model, skins and a few additions I’ll mention later have set the bar high for other developers.
The VRS F/A-18E Superbug aircraft is carrier-based which makes it perfect for Javier’s Nimitz carrier package. Whether you’re doing touch-and-go landings or actually catching the three-wire on the deck and pretending you’re in Top Gun, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Here is a video I did showing the VRS F/A-18E Superbug in action.
The Good Stuff
Rarely is there a simulation or add-on aircraft where one feels like they are actually in the real aircraft. Sitting inside looking around the cockpit via NaturalPoint's TrackIR technology is awesome. I was "there". The majority of the buttons inside the cockpit are clickable, each with its own task. Some buttons you will see or hear their results. Others are part of the startup process. After the service pack became available, you can see the differences in the HUD. It looks more realistic. The aircraft model and skins/repaints are top quality. At full zoom, it is apparent the time and painstaking effort that went into this product. For Javier’s carrier fans, there are repaints to match the USS Nimitz and Eisenhower squadrons.
The three multifunctional displays are for various scenarios including air-to-air, air-to-ground or navigational purposes. Once the VRS TacPack has been released (read more here) learning them will prove more than beneficial. I explored them briefly and found some use once I figured out how to land on Javier’s carrier via ILS / Tacan. For this aircraft, reading the manual is essential. If you don't, you will miss a lot. I’ll have to study the manual more once the VRS TacPack has been released. The VRS F/A-18E Superbug has extra commands not mapped in the standard FSX controls. To enter the aircraft’s special list, press "Shift-Ctrl-M" and once again to return to standard FSX control. This added list has other features such as how quickly the front wheel turns (needed especially on carrier and less so at land-based airports). Chaff, flare, and IFF are other functions on the extended list.
Employing air-to-air weapons against other fighters was great fun. I used Flight1’s AirTrafficFX to go against a MiG-29 which seemed about as real as it can get. With VRS TacPack, head-to-head multiplayer will be a blast. Air-to-ground at this time isn’t that much fun. Although there are add-ons / targets out there, the time taken to figure it all out can be quite time consuming, so beware if you have limited sim time available.
Aircraft Configuration Manager
The aircraft configuration manager allows you to change weapon loads so if you want to fly as a fighter or bomber this utility allows you to switch. The menu also allows you to select system failures which I haven’t tested at this time. Preferences allow you to pick control settings, air refueling and ILS frequencies for aircraft carriers. To find the carriers out there in the vast ocean, you’ll appreciate this feature.
The VRS F/A-18E Superbug is...
Aircraft model is extremely well done
Top quality textures
Aircraft features through the aircraft configuration manager
Future release of TacPack
Could be Better
Weapon loadout variety is limited (as compared to real aircraft weapon loads)
Bomb drop is very quick (hard to get screenshots or track weapon release)
Reviewer's System Specs
Alienware Aurora ALX
Intel i7-920 processor
1TB hard drive
12GB 1600MHz ram
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295
SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme
Windows 7 Home Premium
X-52 Flight controller
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